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Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip

southampton
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Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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Hello,

We are a mature couple visiting Canada for the 4th time this summer and would appreciate some help in planning our itinerary. We enjoy driving, scenery, wildlife, short walks (2/3 km's).

We are planning on about 4/5 hours of driving per day.

Aug 28 arrive Vancouver staying for 4 nights,

1 Sep pick up hire car and travel to Kelowna calling at Hells Gate. Stay here for 2 nights

3 Sep to 100 Mile House or near

4 Sep to Whistler for 2 nights

6 Sep to Victoria for 2 nights

8 Sep drive to Campbell River

9 Sep float plane to Grizzley Bear Lodge for 3 nights plus night in Campbell River on return, all pre booked.

13 Sep to Port Hardy

14 Sep to Tofino for 2 nights

16 Sep return to Vancouver for last night

Apart from Vancouver on arrival (4 nights) and Campbell River we have not booked any hotels as we are very adaptable.

Would love to hear the views of the experts on this trip and any other must sees we have perhaps missed out.

On our previous trip we did the Rocky Mountaineer and the Rockies.

Thanks in advance

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Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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Labour Day weekend -Sep 3,4,5 (and really the Friday before also). You better have accommodations booked in advance.

Penticton, Canada
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2. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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hi

Labour day weekend is never that busy in the Okanagan but having reservations is a good idea - just make them direct with the hotel and get the ones that you can cancel to be flexible.

now about the route. definitely not your typical route; is there a reason you want to go to 100 Mile House?

So with that in mind I can not help myself to make a suggestion that will catch most of the places you have listed. It is based on being close to Vancouver last so less stressful to get organised to catch a flight home.

Vancouver to Tofino via Victoria (need 1 night min in Victoria)

Tofino to Port McNeill rather than Port Hardy as it is more central to visit Port Hardy - Alert Bay - Sointula and Telegraph Cove. http://www.cluxeweresort.com/ gets good reviews for visiting the area.

Port McNeill to Campbell River with a stop to see the Cable Cafe at the Sayward turnout. You may want to look at whale-bear watching tours out or Port McNeill so you would not have to relocate.

Campbell River - Nanaimo via 19A - ferry Duke Point to Tsawassen - Hope (or Chilliwack) to avoid Vancouver traffic

Hope to Hells Gate across to the Okanagan - look at staying in West Kelowna or closer to Penticton area if a Sat as there is a market worth attending.

Okanagan to Vancouver via #3 Manning Park - stop to see Lightning Lake if sunny.

day trip to Whistler

Vancouver.

with the above you get to see the same landscapes-geological features that you have on your list but avoid what I call the boring ride to 100 Mile House.

North Vancouver...
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for Vancouver
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3. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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Or tour Vancouver Island then take ferry to Prince Rupert and return by way of the Okanagan.

Penticton, Canada
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4. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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for the Prince Rupert suggestion - the Port Hardy to PR ferry is 16+ hours - a cabin is recommended but they are scarce, it needs lots of lead time to get one.

Prince Rupert - Port Edwards needs at least one night so you can visit the Cannery

if you only want to drive 4-6 hrs each day you get stops in Smithers-Quesnel-Cache Creek Area then Okanagan for a 4 day trip. min 3 days if you do a couple of 8-9 hr days.

southampton
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5. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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Thank you for the suggestions. I considered 100 Mile House as I thought it may have been a scenic drive on the way to Whistler, so perhaps not, will now look at going direct from Kelowna and spending an additional night there. We visited Kamloops on our previous trip.

I did consider the ferry to Prince Rupert but we don't fancy the long ferry journey.

We are going on a bear and whale watching trip from Campbell River which is already booked.

Where would you say is the best place to stay in the Okanagan?

Thanks again

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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For those destinations, you should mostly be alright if you don't have reservations provided you don't mind too much where you end up. You are unlikely to be forced to take a $600 room because that's all that's left (as most of those places - except for Tofino - won't have high end resorts at that price) and you may end up in a really dumpy dive in an out of the way location, you'll get a bed.

I'd turn your route around a bit and do the north island first, then out to Tofino, down to Victoria and back to Vancouver from there. Its quite a detour to go down to Victoria from Whistler, then turn around and go north again from there.

100 Mile house isn't a bad little place. The town itself doesn't offer much, but its in a nice area. However, it is quite a detour. Coming from Kelowna, I'd look at the Nicola Valley area - Loon Lake or Ashcroft maybe, or even around Lillooet on your way to Whistler. There's some dude ranches around Clinton that may interest you, but I wouldn't go any further north than that as you are turning around again to go on to Whistler. But I like the Cariboo if you want to see a bit of it.

Its difficult to describe "best" place to stay in the Okanagan and as you are planning to travel without reservations, then you may not entirely have a choice. I think Kelowna has the most options, but is also probably the most expensive. Anywhere in the valley is nice. There's a chain of lakes and some lovely towns - Kaleden, Summerland, Okanagan Falls, Naramata, Penticton, Oliver, Osoyous, even Keremeos all have their charms.

Penticton, Canada
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7. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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the best place to stay in the Okanagan? that really depends on what you want to do when you get there.

Kelowna is the larger city which flows into West Kelowna on you way south. Penticton is central to the south if you want to do day trips to the wineries and walks. It is a smaller city between 2 lakes with great beach front and walkways.

The KVR trail is an old rail bed that has max 4% grades that runs north south along the valley.

there are over 100 wineries between Kelowna and the US border (Osoyoos) which is a 2.5 drive from on end to the other.

there are attractions other than wineries that will keep you busy for a 2-3 days It is a great bird watching area with over 325 species on the list + during our bird watching we have observed a number of mammals including random black bear sightings but the California Big Horn sheep herd above Vaseux lake are residents that are use to traffic; yellow bellied marmots are a sure thing on the way to Blue Mountain winery often with circling turkey vultures above. This is along Allendale Road which is one of the most scenic spot in all the valley.

So if you want to stay where it is busy you get Kelowna or West Kelowna - if you want slower pace there is Penticton or Osoyoos or even slower would be a B&B in Naramata or one between Penticton and Osoyoos.

http://www.visitpenticton.com/ http://www.tourismkelowna.com/

Once you decide on a location if you post on the Penticton forum I can fill in the options for a couple of day trips based on your list of things you want to see.

Edited: 4 years ago
8. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip

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Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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I'll agree that if you are trying to find a nice place on the lake on a Friday afternoon, you can forget it! But a backwater motel on a dingy suburban street corner. You'd find a bed....it all depends on your priorities and I know for some people, the flexibility to come and go as they please is paramount. I feel that trying to track down a room when you arrive in a town eats up an inordinate amount of my precious holiday time and I now prebook absolutely as much as I can, down to dinner reservations, because then the decisions are made and I can relax. Everyone is different....

For the record, the tourism offices will often have a vacancy listing, so its worth heading there first to see who may have rooms.

Bega, Australia
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10. Re: Do I need to book hotels in advance for a road trip
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Tourism in Canada is hot at the moment and if don't book in advance (some areas will already be booked solid and top dollar you will pay) then make sure your rental car is big enough to sleep in. We just did an ad-hoc journey and Kelowna with a view of the lake was cad185+, that was the fourth hotel and the first that had a vacancy that was a Tuesday! Lots of luck!!

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